American Whiskey Breaks Records with $1.4 Billion in Exports

Written by Camilla Jessen

Mar.01 - 2024 1:15 PM CET

American whiskey leads the charge in spirits exports, hitting an all-time high of $1.4 billion and dominating global markets in 2023.

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American whiskey has hit a new high, with exports reaching a whopping $1.4 billion and making up 63% of all U.S. spirits sent overseas in 2023, as reported by Discus. This achievement reflects a 9% increase from the previous year, helping U.S. spirits exports reach a record $2.2 billion, up by 8% from 2022.

After facing challenges from 2018 to 2021 because of extra charges (tariffs) from big markets like the UK and the EU, the situation for U.S. spirits exports is looking up. Exports to the EU, which is the biggest buyer of U.S. spirits, grew by 24% compared to the year before, totaling about $883 million or 40% of all exports in 2023.

Other important markets included Canada, Mexico, Australia, and the UK, showing how much people around the world enjoy American spirits.

Trade deals that remove extra charges are crucial for the U.S. spirits industry. In 2023, exports to countries with such deals reached $1.8 billion, making up 83% of total exports.

However, sales to countries with high tariffs, like India, Vietnam, and Brazil, made up just 3% of total exports, showing how tariffs can impact trade.

The Rise of American Whiskey

American whiskey, which includes Tennessee whiskey, Bourbon, American Rye whiskey, and American Single Malt, has seen impressive growth, especially after the EU stopped adding an extra 25% charge in January 2022. Since then, whiskey exports to the EU have jumped by 61% compared to 2021, with the total value increasing from $439 million in 2021 to $705 million in 2023.

This accounts for half of all American whiskey exports. The EU's decision to keep not adding extra charges until March 31, 2025, is good news, but there's a risk of a 50% charge coming back if a lasting solution isn't found.

Over the last 20 years, global exports of U.S. spirits have grown by nearly 280%, from $587 million in 2003 to more than $2.2 billion now. This growth is partly thanks to the rise in craft distilleries, from less than 100 in 2005 to over 2,600 today, with many starting to sell their products abroad.

Besides whiskey, U.S. vodka and liqueurs exports have also increased, with brandy exports more than doubling to $37 million in 2023.